Fylde is a safe place to live. However, it is important to recognise that major emergencies can occur at any time. These can be caused in many ways and result in a number of problems for example flooding, or an industrial incident such as a factory fire, even a chemical spill from a road tanker can create particular hazards that need careful managing to make safe. Some emergencies can also affect large numbers of people, if for example there has been a multiple vehicle crash, perhaps a loss of one of the utilities such as gas, electricity or water, or an act of terrorism.
Any incident that could be a threat to the welfare of the community or one which requires special arrangements to coordinate council services would be considered an emergency.
During an incident, the emergency services may need to evacuate your home or several homes, they may even ask you to remain inside your property until a danger outside has been dealt with.
To cater for any evacuations, the council has identified a venue that can be used as a Rest Centre for people who may have nowhere else to go. In conjunction with Lancashire County Council we also carry out regular exercises to ensure that our staff working at these centres are fully trained and that the centres themselves can be brought into use quickly and easily.
Civil Contingencies Act
The Civil Contingencies Act 2004 has transformed the face of all emergency response organisations. The highly visible Emergency Responders such as the Police, Fire and Ambulance Service are called Category 1 responders and they usually deal with an incident from the outset. However, they are also supported in the immediate and longer-term by a whole host of other agencies in the public, private and voluntary sector. These other agencies are known either as Category 1 or 2 Responders and include:
- the Environment Agency
- other NHS organisations
- electricity, gas and water utility supply companies
- telecoms companies.
Fylde Council is classed as a Category 1 responder.
It is crucial that each of these organisations has a planned response and that the plans are co-coordinated to avoid confusion in the immediate aftermath of an incident. Whilst the police will normally take the lead in co-coordinating the response to incidents, Fylde Council’s Risk and Emergency Planning Officer undertakes a significant role in helping the entire council plan, respond to and recover from any major emergency. A recovery period can be as short as a few days or in severe events can last for many months.
The emergency planner’s primary responsibility is to ensure that the council has a robust and resilient yet flexible major emergency plan. One that is designed to deal with major incidents that could affect the borough and its community. By putting such plans in place ensures that the council is prepared to respond to any civil emergency that affects the community and its environment. By working efficiently together, the emergency services, council, voluntary agencies and other groups, all help to bring about a speedy return to normality.
What kind of emergencies do the council plan for and respond to?
The Civil Contingencies Act 2004 has defined an emergency as: ‘Any event or situation which threatens serious damage to human welfare in a place in the UK, the environment of a place in the UK, or war or terrorism which threatens serious damage to the security of the UK.’
In conjunction with Lancashire County Council and the Lancashire Local Resilience Forum we have also completed specific emergency plans to deal with:
- Pandemic Flu
- Avian Influenza
- Major road accidents
- Chemical release
- Oil pollution
In conjunction with our partners in the Police, Fire & Rescue Service, North West Ambulance, NHS England, Lancashire County Council, The Environment Agency and the all important Voluntary Organisations, we test and review our emergency plans on a regular basis.
The Risk and Emergency Planning Officer, Stephen Benson, can be contacted for advice by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
or by post to:
Lytham St Annes,
If you wish to know more about the Emergency Planning service in Fylde or have any questions, please contact us at the above address.
For an out of hours emergency please telephone 01253 642111.